Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Raining outside, beer in hand, late at night, too much internetty-time. Phew! I just sent off the majority of the Underlings CD image-stuff to our design-guru. I can't wait to see what happens when it comes back. Every time I get 99% done with a cd project, I feel like throwing the whole thing away and giving up, but no, I won't do that. I think the whole package is going to come out great; I just reserve the right to express my frustration at how long the process takes. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Some folks around here are already aware of the Guilty Pleasures show that happened last weekend at Sam Bond's Garage. For those who don't know, local musician/artist/cool guy Dave Snider puts on this fun show where 29 or 30 local singers get up onstage with a band of crack musicians and sing their "guilty pleasure" pop song, a song they enjoy but don't readily admit to. I did 2 Tickets to Paradise by Eddie Money, a song I liked very much when I was 8. Other folks did songs by the Offspring, Stevie Nicks, Bette Midler, New Kids on the Block, Boz Scaggs - you get the picture. The scene was crowded beyond belief - man! So many people will show up for an event like that, it blows my mind. One of the rare chances any of us have to perform to a full house. Very fun and the band was awesome - Jake Pavlak on guitar, Ryan Tocchini on Keyboards and guitar, James West on drums and Dave Snider on bass, with occasional appearances by Kee Zublin (sax) and Tony Figoli (bongos). The mind boggles, I am glad to party with the freaks once in awhile. MOVING ON, I know I blogged last about Gasquet and I will get back to that subject soon, but I don't want to crowd this post. I will say my mind is constantly troubled, thinking about my brother, living in a tent by a river in Washington state. Do any of you readers have relatives who you'd like to help, but you know you'd be embracing absolute chaos if you stick your neck out too far to help them? And perhaps have you ever been conflicted about just living your own life, scraping by as best you can, when you can't stop thinking about someone you care about who is self-destructive and unwilling to accept help? That's where my mind is at lately. I'm sure I'm not alone in this feeling - I know some of my friends have been to the dark side and made it back, and of course we all know a few who just slid off into oblivion and never returned. 'nuff said, I guess I will just pray to the Metal Gods and hope everything turns out for the best.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Regarding Gasquet, I never meant to imply that it is a shameful place. On the contrary, I can completely understand why certain kinds of people want to live in a rural area in a beautiful part of the world. However, being raised in a rural place can be a different story. As a kid, I was filled with wonder at the nature all around me, but I felt completely isolated from my peers. I did have some interesting friends that came and went over the years, but I have to say - every family or person I knew were all coming from some other place, often, "escaping, " from something, someone, some situation. People escaping other people and ending up in a loose-knit community in the redwoods. I digress: the coolest time I spent in Gasquet was in the late 1970s. My family moved there in December 1975, about a month after my dad died. My mom, I can remember, was sighing a lot and consulting with her business associates about buying a house somewhere in rural Del Norte county. We were living temporarily in Smith River in a rather funky trailer/house combination. My mom tended to fall in love with homes that were of older construction and had unique qualities. She ended up buying the old Gasquet School house, a giant, cavernous house divided in 2 large sections, formerly classrooms I assume. Long and rectangular with giant redwood beam construction, the house was drafty but solid. The entire main dining room / living room was large and lodge-like, with high ceilings and 7 or 8 large windows along one wall, a large fireplace - later a insert stove - on one end. The other half of the house was divided into 5 bedrooms of varying sizes, a laundry room and a bathroom. The laundry room dead-ended in a pantry-sized hallway. This was my room, only big enough for my bed and alien sci-fi books. I digress: When my family moved to Gasquet, we landed in a cool little town with a fair-sized population of kids of all ages. It didn't really stay that way in the 1980s. The 70s in Gasquet were ruled by factions of rowdy youth partiers from several different families. At the least, that is how I remember it as a young kid. I was surrounded by my 3 older brothers and 1 older sister. They knew everyone in town and everyone knew us Coles. My brother Mike, 3d from the oldest in my family, was well known in this part of the world. He was a natural leader of a certain kind of tribe, the kind of tribe that exists in the Mountain Dew commercial Gasquet of my fuzzy memories, a tribe of regular, American dudes living the wholesome, mischief-laden, dope smokin', possibly thievin, small-town existence. All the dudes that were Mike's friends - guys with names like Bruce, Brett, Bob, Dan, Mike and Rocky, girls with names I can no longer remember - were typically rowdy but nice, often hanging out at, "The Forks, " the popular river spot, doing their thing, loudly, jumping off cliffs and hyperventilating for a cheap buzz. Drug use - there was plenty, and plenty of gas and glue-huffing as well. Off-roading in Datsuns and VW bugs - check. Siphoning fuel from airplanes for a high-octane kick for your Nova? - check. Running through the woods at night, tripping balls on 'shrooms - check. Fun stuff to witness, and somewhat disconcerting, but that was what was going down. Of course, my sister and other bros knew all these folks too, but Mike seemed like the head of the pack. I can remember tooling around town with my brother, going up to visit friends that lived on Gasquet loop road while riding on the back of dirt bikes, getting in car crashes every now and then, playing my first video games and first hearing, "new wave," music, like Blondie, on local turntables, all the while my bro sneakin' off to go smoke weed with his friends, always leaving me with Rush records to listen to or Atari 2600 games to play with, always Asteroids. I wish I could let drop some of the more salacious gossip of the times, but I don't want to incriminate anyone - although I'm sure the statute of limitations is long over for petty crimes of the sort that I was witness to. Stolen beer, siphoned gas, joyrides, petty theft, vandalism. I wasn't party to any of it at the time - of course I was much too young - but I have to say, it colored my outlook on life, somehow imparted a thieves' perspective on my psyche. I'm thankful that I was never witness to any truly bad shit - no white drugs, prostitution or domestic violence - not like so many of my friends, but there was a wild, permissive vibe in the air during the era. Our parents were distracted with the free, freaky, swinging 70s. We got away with entirely too much, but some of course, paid the price anyway. Next time: why Steve Miller Band wrote the soundtrack to the summer of my youth, Edward J Colesier

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Gasquet, California

(image of Smith River courtesy of Google.com)

I never actually wanted to write about Gasquet, at least for the longest time I’ve avoided it. I still have some ties there, but not so much that I really care anymore about the truth getting out about the quaint/sketchy little village on the Smith River in Nor Cal. I have a mixture of pride and shame in regards to my longest-time hometown association with Gasquet and greater Del Norte County. Pride because the area is unique and beautiful, shame because of… well , I’m not really sure why. Del Norte County is like a little corner of Alaska that got dropped on the Northern California coast. It feels remote there, roughly equidistant between San Francisco and Portland, roughly equidistant between Eureka, California and Grant’s Pass, Oregon. The population is small and comes in one of several dominant categories – 1. poor, working class, mostly white. 2. Yurok and Talawa Indian tribes living on their respective reservations. 3. Cannibas cultivators. 4. Law enforcement professionals (and/or Forest Service professionals, Cal trans etc…) 5. Unemployed, formerly working poor, often Meth-addicted folks and of course, 6. Everyone Else. I spent most of my formative school years in Del Norte, off and on, from kindergarten through my Senior year in high school, and I was one of those who desperately wanted out, and when the time came I left at a high rate of speed. But, that isn’t to say that I don’t have fond memories of my rural upbringing. For starters, there is Gasquet itself. Initially a resort village located on a flat area of the Smith River Valley, the town was founded sometime around the turn of the 20th century by a man named Horace Gasquet. The heyday of the town was probably the 1950s, when several trailer parks and a motel catered to the middle-class vacationers of the day. The best feature in the old days was the Gasquet store and The Rusty Nail bar, which as far as I know was most happening from the 1950s through early 1980s. Here is a pic from a fellow named DBerry's flickr stream of the store in all it's 50's glory:

Village of Gasquet, CA, 1950's

Next time around, I will set forth with more sordid tales of Gasquet in the late 1970's, when teenaged partiers ran amok and brought with them pop culture artifacts from the bigger cities that their parents moved from. It was a happening time, with cut-off shorts, pancake breakfasts at the Veterans Hall, Peter Frampton hairdos and Cheap Trick, the Cars and ELO blasting out of Camaro 8 track players at every turn.


Monday, January 23, 2012

Macro Blawg: I’m at the end of my lunch. I am at a desk, in front of a plastic rectangle with many, many square buttons on it, in front of another glowing rectangle. A cup of tepid, brown fluid is settled in a ceramic vessal with the letters “E, d” emblazoned on the side. Many important inputs are entering my brain via my senses – but this blawg is an output, so let me translate now to you: the new album from Stew and the Negro Problem is on my player, coming into my ears and I will tell you that it hits the spot. When I think of reality, I think of the awful, banal things that force their way into my life everyday – working at a “job”, commuting around the town with all the other beings, dealing with Godawful Assholes (tm) and the rules they want to impose on everyone, financial pressures of being on the outside of “The Game.” Right at this moment, none of that matters. What matters – what seems “real”, is Stew and Heidi’s music, which somehow, almost always, hits that spot reserved for the most Real of the Real.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Man, my brain hurts! I've been goofing around in a great audio program called reaper for about a year now, mainly just "practicing" recording demo songs and band practice, but lately I've been making an effort to really wrap my head around DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) editing techniques. All I can say is - ouch! Maybe if I was 15 again, this whole transition to computer recording wouldn't be so hard. As it is, I now bow down to those whipper snapper kids and adults who have become so good at editing drums and other instruments in the digital domain. I fear I have a deficit of application - it's been so long since I've applied my brain, it doesn't want to flex or learn for NOTHIN'. At least not on my 1/2 hour lunch break at work, and certainly not at 9:30 pm after the kids go down for the night. Writing a song, rehearsing a song, performing or recording a song - all that stuff seems a hell of a lot easier than this quantized editing bullshit. I seriously need to up my geek quotient if I'm going to get with the program. That being said, here is my first, "official", self-recorded album from 1994, "1994 Fuzz Attack," all done on 4-track cassette, of course:

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Dang, I love carrot juice, especially when it's free - so long as it isn't out-of-date and rancid/dangerous. A person who I was close to for many years used to dispense the following advice: There are only 3 modes in life: Input, Output and Make Money. I guess lately I've been solely in Input/Make Money modes. I input various foods, liquids and supplements into my body. I input music, art, internet, television and face-to-face, ear-to-ear communication into my brain, my "true self." And, theoretically, I make money, but usually not at a high enough bandwidth to actually feel its presence. I've been on a healthier kick lately, and no, it doesn't have anything to do with a New Year's resolution. Less harmful chemicals and alcohol inputted into self. Attempting to be less-curmudgeonly in my regular rounds of personal communications, but I often trip up on that and revert to my grumpy, slightly-mean self. But the one thing I haven't been doing much lately is Output. I was on a creative roll for a spell, writing songs and journal entries, occasionally blogging - sure enough, that's output. But lately, almost nada. I have a slew of half-finished song ideas on tape, but oddly, finishing those valuable bits can be harder than it seems. I started in again, last night, working on a song I had started a month ago. I worked it through about 2/3 of the way and went back to input mode - I had to check the internet, that valuable resource, full of so much indispensable information and entertainment. Damn! Tripped up again. the WWW is worse than TMZ - everything seems so frickin' important, but in reality, none of it is. I didn't make any particular resolutions this year - although Woody Guthrie's 1942 New Year's list has been making the rounds on the social sites , and it certainly is inspirational and entertaining - but if I have anything to resolve for 2012, it's to make more face-to-face time for the people in my sphere. Less internettin', more gettin' with. And that probably includes you, so watch out!